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Old 19-09-2021, 06:22   #1
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Year 5 Costs of Cruising and Living On My Boat

Just finished 5 years of cruising and living on the boat and am reviewing the costs and major events. This year was the least expensive we have had. It is close to that magical “not counting” answer I read about, adjusted for our lifestyle, for years about cruising budgets. This is because we didn’t have any big boat costs or major medical items that for some must be free so aren’t counted. The year was semi controlled by the Covid-19 restrictions that again kept us from going to the Caribbean. But the biggest controlling item turned out to a family issue that kept us in one spot for 5 months to take care of instead of sailing north for the summer. So, the year started in Jacksonville, FL, went down to the Keys, over to the Bahamas, and ended again in Jacksonville.

This year our total all-in costs were $38,997.06, which is down $18.616.86 from last year and $4,287.60 less than our next lowest year during our second year. In this number is pretty much every dollar we spent except for maybe a few hundred that were so unusual that I decided to not even track. So where did the money go and how might it help planners and wannabes in deciding their plans?

“General living costs – Food, clothing, alcohol, sundries and other.” - $14,474.57, which was 37.1% of our total and was an increase of $1,318.11 over last year. This was the highest category this year and over 1/3 of total costs, as it should be. This category is basically what we would have spent even if living on land and if something doesn’t fit into one of the other categories it is in here. Some of the increase was probably due to spending a few more months in the Bahamas where things are more expensive. But since I could see the trend of this months ago, I started paying more attention and noted that “stuff” is just costing more lately. Note, we aren’t living on beans and rice and if we want steak etc. and can find it, we have it.

“Boat maintenance, repair and upgrades” - $3,315.93, which is 8.5% of total money spent and a decrease of $16,540.64 from last year. This year we did no major upgrades or had any big repairs/maintenance. I think the largest item this year was $222 for a pump head for the watermaker (ridiculous for what it is), the next was $160 for 16 LED interior lights, next was $140 gas tank to use with the Honda generator, and the next was $124 for a potable water pump. So, the moral here is that the small costs add up if you keep track.
“Fuel (diesel, gas, propane)” - $957.11, 2.5% of total and $200.65 increase from last year. That probably was all due to more time in the Bahamas and higher diesel costs. But was still less than years 1-3.

“Dining and drinking out” - $7,279.75, 18.6% of total and $2,769.95 increase from last year. For comparison year 4 total was low due to covid closures and year 5 was pretty much in line with years 1-3 even though we went on 3 weeks of vacation, which is more dining and drinking out than a normal week. We were happy to have been able to do it and are OK with the money spent, but this a category saving area for planners

“Entertainment”- $2,24.32, 5.8% of total and $957.51 increase from last year. Of that increase $747 was cost of 3 weeks of resort condo stays. We wish this number would get bigger as that is what life is about, fun!

“Communication, storage, shipping” - $2,234.223, 5.7% of total for the year, down $34.09 from last year. We did buy a MiFi for the Bahamas and paid 3 months of service this year, but we also changed our US cell plan, and in the end, we spent less for the category. Except for maybe $20-30 all the costs in the category are cell phone and inReach tracking costs. The cell phones are used for internet hotspots and video streaming WAY more than as phones.

“Fees – check-ins, credit card and ATMs” - $176.20, 0.5%, increase of $542.09 this year. Pretty much all that was the extra costs of getting 2 rapid PCR tests to go to the Bahamas. Counting the tests, rental car and the health visa this added around $400 to the normal $300 Bahamas cruising costs.
“Marina”- $3,913.75, 10% of costs and $408.52 less than last year as we spent more time in the Bahamas this year on anchor.

“Electric” -$157.25, 0.4% of total and $32.55 less than last year. Less time in a marina is less money spent on electric but is offset some by generator fuel.

“Medical and dental” - $1,647.39, 4.2% of total and $739.95 less than last year. Of the total this year around $1,000 was copays for cardio testing, and physical therapy for a broken shoulder from year 4. The rest was the difference between our ACA subsidy and plan cost.

“Transportation and travel” - $-114.24 (a credit amount), -0.3% of total and down $6,037.87 from last year. Last year we brought a used car because we were going to be in 1 place a long time, and this year we sold it. For years 4+5 it averaged out about the same as for years 1-3, so the experiment seemed to work. If I had thought of it months ago, I would have done it again this year.
“Gifts and presents” - $1,459.35, 3.8% of total and up $32.50 from last year.

“Water” - $48.44, 0.1% of total and down $31.56. Even though we now have a watermaker maker some marinas in Bahamas charge a flat daily rate (boat gets a major wash down).
“Boat and dinghy registration” - $147.25, 0.4% and down $70.25. All due to doing a multiyear Coast Guard documentation.
“Insurance” - $1,036, 2.7% of total and down $271. I lowered the agreed value of the boat.

So, there you have it. That is how we spent $38,997.06 cruising and living on a boat this year. We definitely are not living a high life, but we are living a good comfortable boat one. It is just an example for others to use as they wish to budget/plan and it doesn’t matter if others could do it for less, because even we could. I don’t make any attempt really to separate “cruising costs” from “living costs”, because my bank account doesn’t know the difference and all the money was spent during the year while we lived and travelled on the boat.

Yearly category totals are below for quick read and if anyone wants the excel spreadsheet with notes etc., they can email me at svrubberducky “at” gmail.com.

General Living - Food, soda, alcohol, clothing, “other” - $ 14,474.57
Boat costs - upgrades, repairs, maintenance - $ 3,315.93
Fuel (diesel, gas, propane) - $ 957.11
Dining and drinking out - $ 7,270.75
Entertainment - $ 2,264.32
Communication, storage, shipping - $ 2,234.23
Fees - $ 176.20
Marina - $ 3,913.75
Electric - $ 157.25
Medical - $ 1,647.39
Transportation and travel - $ -114.24
Gifts - $ 1,459.35
Water - $ 48.33
Registration - $ 147.25
Insurance - $ 1,036.00
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Old 19-09-2021, 09:43   #2
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Re: Year 5 Costs of Cruising and Living On My Boat

Hey Sailorboy, just a quick question on your insurance.

Who is that with and what does it cover, boat and area wise ?

Thanks
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Old 20-09-2021, 06:28   #3
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Re: Year 5 Costs of Cruising and Living On My Boat

I currently have full coverage with New Hampshire Ins, $75k agreed value, covers all of US and the Bahamas with no area/date restrictions. Does have a higher deductible for hurricane season.
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Old 20-09-2021, 07:32   #4
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Re: Year 5 Costs of Cruising and Living On My Boat

Thank you so much for sharing this detailed and valuable information. It is greatly appreciated. Glad to see you back on the board with CF.
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Old 20-09-2021, 09:54   #5
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Re: Year 5 Costs of Cruising and Living On My Boat

Thanks for the details on your sailing expenses. Very incisive and valuable information for those of us ready to cut the land bound ties and start our life on the water.
cheers,
Jim
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Old 21-09-2021, 10:53   #6
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Re: Year 5 Costs of Cruising and Living On My Boat

Many thanks again for sharing your expenses history.
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Old 23-09-2021, 03:24   #7
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Re: Year 5 Costs of Cruising and Living On My Boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
I currently have full coverage with New Hampshire Ins, $75k agreed value, covers all of US and the Bahamas with no area/date restrictions. Does have a higher deductible for hurricane season.
Thanks, that seems pretty reasonable.
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Old 23-09-2021, 06:46   #8
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Re: Year 5 Costs of Cruising and Living On My Boat

Thank you so much for taking the time to document this and share it with the community! Makes me feel confident that I'm not out in left field with the estimates I've made on my own. Factoring in the "figuring out what the hell you are doing" phase where costs are going to be greater seems like a good plan. Once you get past that, things settle down a bit, what a fantastic way to live your life & congrats on 5+ years of cruising!
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Old 27-09-2021, 12:27   #9
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Re: Year 5 Costs of Cruising and Living On My Boat

To those saying thanks, you are welcome.

In some ways I miss the heckling days of 5 years of this topic series
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Old 28-09-2021, 04:35   #10
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Re: Year 5 Costs of Cruising and Living On My Boat

Thanks for sharing real world costs...I am sure that there are a few that read this and will have real takeaway ideas as to what it takes to have a good life and what it *really* costs to do so.
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Old Today, 14:28   #11
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Re: Year 5 Costs of Cruising and Living On My Boat

just for FYI

I went through year 5 data and figure a 30' boat instead of my 41' boat would have saved us $528 this year.
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